FOOTBALL, SOCCER, SOFTBALL, VOLLEYBALL & OTHER PLAYERS MOVE ON TO COLLEGIATE LEVEL SPORTS
|McHi senior WR Gunnar Henderson and family at the McAllen High School gym after signing his National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals in San Antonio.
BY TJ GARCIA
Since last fall, RGV high school senior athletes have been verbally committing and signing to play college sports for teams around the country. This recruiting period, Sports504.com has an unofficial count of 27 Valley athletes that have either verbally committed, or signed, an offer from D-I universities and colleges.
That’s a pretty good D-I haul, and maybe one of the best in years. Although there are no records kept on this type of this kind of activity, this academic year a number of schools that are rarely seen on the RGV recruiting trail have cherry-picked kids in the region.
Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas Tech, Texas State, UTSA, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of the Incarnate Word all signed athletes to scholarships – UIW, UTRGV, Lamar and UTSA each with at least three. The University of Texas and Texas A&M also picked up Valley athletes.
Wednesday was the first day for NCAA Division I schools to sign athletes in football and soccer, however, more will be added this spring. And as the scholarships run out this spring and summer, walk-on opportunities will be offered. It happens every year, and RGV athletes benefit from it.
And while the focus is on D-I athletes right now, many more area students will sign on with NCAA D-II, D-III and NAIA schools in the coming weeks and months in a number of different sports. Some are already taking place.
Several Valley athletes also signed D-I deals last fall including some with UTRGV for baseball and volleyball. UTRGV also signed Sharyland’s Kaitie Watson to a soccer scholarship this week, and McHi volleyball setter Carter Helmcamp graduated early and enrolled in Edinburg this spring.
Here’s the most comprehensive, but unofficial (surely a few are missing) list available going back to last fall of RGV athletes going D-I: Soccer 6, Football 6, Baseball 5, Cross Country 3, Softball 2, Volleyball 2, Swimming 1, Golf 1, Track & Field 1.
- Shaine Casas, McHi, Texas A&M, Swimming
- Julio Cuello, Edinburg Vela, Lamar, Football
- Hector DeJesus, San Benito, Texas State, Football
- Aaron Galvan, Edinburg Vela, UTRGV, Baseball
- Abanny Garcia, McHi, UTRGV, Baseball
- Christian Gonzalez, Brownsville Hanna, Incarnate Word, Baseball
- Brandon Gracia, RGC, Texas, Cross Country
- Noe Guerrero, Brownsville Hanna, Texas Southern, Baseball
- Aleythia Gutierrez, IDEA Toros, Lamar, Soccer
- Carter Helmcamp, McHi, UTRGV, Volleyball
- Gunnar Henderson, McHi, Incarnate Word, Football
- Johnny Howell, Shary Pioneer, Houston, Track & Field
- Leah Leal, Harlingen, UTSA, Soccer
- Richard Lefevre, Weslaco East, Incarnate Word, Football
- Julie Lucio, Brownsville Vets, Houston, Golf
- Brandon Morales, IDEA Toros, USAF Academy, Soccer
- Kelechi Nwachaku, McAllen Memorial, UTSA, Football
- Erik Pizarro, Rio Hondo, Lamar, Football
- Beth Ramos, Edinburg North, Texas, Cross Country
- Andrea Reyes, Shary Pioneer, Incarnate Word, Soccer
- Ediberto Reyes, Valley View, New Mexico, Baseball
- Naomi Reyes, Edinburg Vela, Texas Southern, Softball
- Audrey Smith, Shary Pioneer, Texas Tech, Volleyball
- Dylan Stanley, IDEA Toros, USAF Academy, Soccer
- Valery Tobias, Edinburg IDEA Quest, Texas, Cross Country
- Cassie Valdez, Brownsville Vets, UTSA, Softball
- Kaitie Watson, Sharyland, UTRGV, Soccer
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